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Monday, November 18, 2019

the poignant history of a pioneer from Ottapidaram 83 years ago !!

The poignant history of a man who was so passionate in founding a new enterprise – but passed away broken – this day, 83 years ago.

He was a great patriot and fought the British tooth and nail ~ while some freedom fighters were arrested and spent time in Jail writing books and letters – the hardcore unfortunate were subjected to harsh punishments, were cruelly treated, lost their health, mental balance eventually leading to untimely deaths.  This man’s imprisonment was a sequel to the  speech at Thai Poosa Mantapam in the bed of river Thamirabarani at Tirunelveli [on the night of 9th March 1907];  was convicted under sections 124A & 153A of Indian Penal Code by the Bench consisting of CA White & Miller.   In that famous speech, he had thundered “"As soon as the English people set foot in India, poverty also made its appearance in the country. So long as the foreign Government exists we shall not prosper. So long as we continue to be the servants and slaves of foreigners we shall have to endure hardships.”

Not many of us now know that Tuticorin was known as Thirumandiranagar, meaning a city of holy chants.  Those days, it reverberated with the mantra of ‘Vande Mataram’ .. ..  Indian history has not properly recorded those pains and sufferings of innumerable patriots who fought the British.  Vascoda gama’s ship San Gabrial touched the shores in 1498 – showing the way for Western mariners and that pain continued till 1947 when Indian National flag was unfurled at the ramparts of Red Fort ~ a period of 450 years that gruelled India and its citizens.

Sea-faring is not new – thousands of years ago, Sangam literature speaks of adventurous voyages, wars and trade from South Indian ports, some of which are extinct now.  Perhaps, commercial shipping was new – towards the end of 19th century, some sprang and to us the most important was   “Swadeshi Steam Ship Company”, that challenged the monopoly of enjoyed by the British India Steam Navigation Company, formed in 1856, especially in passenger transportation between Tuticorin and Colombo.  The British India Steam Navigation Company  had earlier been  formed in 1856 as the ‘Calcutta and Burmah Steam Navigation Company’. The company had been formed out of Mackinnon, Mackenzie & Co, a trading partnership of the Scots William Mackinnon and Robert Mackenzie, to carry mail between Calcutta and Rangoon. Years later this ws  entirely absorbed into P&O. As one of the largest shipowners of all time, the company owned more than 500 ships and managed 150 more for other owners. At its height in 1922, BI had more than 160 ships in the fleet, many built on Clydeside, Scotland.

                   The man who dared to create this enterprise  said, “This Company is not merely commercial in its motive. These ships will help the British leave the country with their bags and baggages.” Subrahmanya Siva another stormy petrel of the South and a right-hand man of Chidambaram who was sitting next to him interrupted and said: “They cannot take the bags and baggages as the contents in them belong to India” !

The Great man is - Vandanam Olaganathan Chidambaram Pillai ~ more famous as VOC or Kappolottiya thamizhan,   born on 5th  Sept 1872. His father was an eminent lawyer Ulaganathan Pillai in Ottapidaram, Tuticorin Dist. Like his father, he also became an advocate and often pleaded for the poor. His exemplary fighting qualities made him establish the “Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company” during Nov 1906 by purchasing two steamships ‘S.S.Gaelia’ and ‘S.S.Lawoe’. On 16 October 1906 a new Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company was registered under the Indian Companies Act of 1882. The details found regarding the Company were: The Capital was to be ten lakh rupees raised by the issue of 40,000 shares at Rs. 25 each. Individuals belonging to Asian Continent were eligible to become shareholders—Pandi Thurai Thevar the Zamindar of Palavanatham and the President of Madurai Tamil Sangam was its President and Chidambaram Pillai became an Assistant Secretary of the new company. The company had 15 Directors.   The wily British reportedly slashed the fare per trip to Re.1 (16 annas) per head.  Later the  British company went further by offering a free trip to the passengers plus a free umbrella, which had ‘S.S.Gaelia’ and ‘S.S.Lawoe’ running nearly empty.  The restrictive trade practices coupled by the political actions taken against  the pioneer and other freedom fighters pushed the company towards bankruptcy is the sad history.  

Sea is rough and the life of VOC was tormented at land too.. ..  In Tuticorin the English were running a cotton mill by name “The Tuticorin Coral Cotton Mills”. The Management was fleecing the labourers, and was enjoying enormous profits.  Those who advocate human rights and call British kind, need to know that the Factory Act of 1911 for cotton mill workers prescribed 12 hour work schedule through the week.  In the Coral Mills, even small mistakes by the labourer was magnified by giving cane punishment. Racial arrogance was evident in their behaviour and attitude towards the labourers. Chidambaram Pillai and Siva arranged for meetings of the workers of the Mill and addressed them to bring an awareness. In that task, Padmanabha Ayyangar another social worker and an admirer of Chidambaram also took part. At all the meetings held at Tuticorin during the months of February and March of 1908, all the three were present invariably.  This irked the Britishers, particularly the Collector of Tirunelveli Mr. Winch and the joint Magistrate of Tuticorin, Mr. Ashe.

After that speech in Tirunelveli in  1908, VOC was arrested on charges of sedition. Mahakavi Bharathiyar and Subramanya Siva appeared in the Court in the case and VOC was sentenced to double life imprisonment. He was treated badly as a convict and subjected to inhuman torture.  Chidambaram Pillai was sentenced to 40 years of exile and transportation for life on two counts. Twenty years for seditious speech and 20 years for abetting Siva for his fiery lectures—the sentences to run one after another. Siva was transported for 10 years for seditious speech.

He was sent to the Central Jail at Coimbatore on 9 July 1908. Without any concern for his social status, professional equipment or hereditary weightage, Chidambaram was interned along with diehard and cut-throat criminals. But little did he deflect from his steadfast principles, forebearance and fortitude which earned for him the regard and respect from fellow-prisoners tending to become affection and love. He was asked to spin jute-yarn by hand-rotating machine by which act his palms got blisters with burning sensation and occasionally blood oozed out of the palms.  He was. made to drag the country-oil-expeller (chekku) round and round in the open air to crush the seeds for oil instead of bullocks or any other draught animal.

As if the afflictions—external—are not sufficient, Chidambaram had the share of mental agonies too. The news that the ships belonging to the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company were sold to the very same British Company against which he fought valiantly and relentlessly, pained him terribly.  When Bharati heard about it, he expressed his disapproval and anger when he met Chidambaram in person later at Pondicherry thus: “Honour is great and important. For a few chips the ships were sold to the very enemies by the cut-throats. They could have smashed the ships into smithereens and thrown them into the sea. Will India sink if a few chips were lost?” Not stopping with the sale of the ships to the enemies, the members of the management of the Swadeshi Company demanded compensation from Chidambaram. They contended that due to the political interference of Chidambaram alone the Company had to lose business and hence had to be closed.

The man who underwent all pains for the Nation VOC was  later released in Dec 1912 convicted in  judgement known as ‘King Emperor versus Subramania Siva and V.O. Chidambaram Pillai’  is a piece of  history. Here are some snippets – mostly picked from a heart-rending book titled ‘VO Chidambaram Pillai’ written by RN Sampath & Pe Su Mani, with foreword of Ma Po Si.
·         Kappalottiya Thamizhan, a 1961 film – the story of VOC based on bio written by Ma. Po. Si.(M.P.Sivagnanam); directed by B. R. Panthulu, featured Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan in the lead roles. The film reportedly failed at box office.
·         VOC’s birth place Ottapidaram village is proximate to Ettayapuram of Barathiyar and Panchalam kurichi of Veerapandia kattabomman.
·         Ulaganatham Pillai, father of  Kappal Ottiya thamizhan Chidambaram, was related to Lieutenant Thanapathi Pillai who served Katta Bomman as minister.
·         In  1906, VOC met Swami Ramakrishnananda—the Chief of Ramakrishna Mission at Madras.  This meeting changed the life of pious Saivaite
·         Chidambaram was a great orator, great writer in Tamil, having published some books.  His fiery article ‘Swadesabhimanam’ appeared in Vivekabhanu Feb 1906 issue of  a monthly journal from Madurai.
·         This literary magazine ws started in 1902 and was at one point of time ran by Pulavar MR Kandaswami Kavirayar, zealous Nationalist.  VOC was contributing a donation of Rs.12/-  every month !
·         In May 1907, Bipin Chandra Pal visited Madras and gave six lectures on the Triplicane Beach every day evening from 3 to 8. These lectures brought out a perceptible change in the attitude of the people. Bharathiyar wrote in his India on 11 May 1907, that the visit and speeches of Pal had cast a miraculous effect on the otherwise slumbering people of Madras. After the visit in every street and in every place the talk was only about Nationalism and the first utterance was Vande Mataram.
·         On the day of release of Bipin Chandra Pal on 9.3.1908, VOC & Subramanya Siva organised celebrations at Tuticorin. 
·         The Madras Jana Sangh was founded in Triplicane at a meeting held in Gangai Kondan  Mantap on 11 Jan 1908. [our Ganganna mantap at Triplicane market]
·         Sadly, (though British had made elaborate arrangements) at the time of his release on 24.12.1912, Swami Vallinayagam, V.O.C.’s wife, sons, brother-in-law and friend Ganapathi  only were present at the gate.  Siva who himself had been released a month earlier was   there as a sole representative of public persons who toiled with Chidambaram for the freedom, fully afflicted with leprosy. What a travesty!
·         Chidambaram Pillai upon his release from Cannanore jail,  neither went to his native village Ottappidaram nor to his erstwhile field of political activity, Tuticofin, but went to Madras and set up his family.
·         With his Sannad to practice being confiscated he could not restart his legal profession. Wherewithal to maintain a family became a big question mark before him. He tried at opening a grocery and general store but failed in that. He ventured into kerosene mandy but lost money.   Mandayam Srinivasachari of Thiruvallikkeni, who had employed Mahakavi Barathiyar  alone was the financial prop for all indigent patriots and he helped Chidambaram considerably.
·         While Subrahmanya Bharati and Subrahmanya Siva translated the works of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, Chidambaram took the works of James Allen for his handiwork.
·         He also joined hands with Prof. Vaiyapuri Pillai and published Tholkappiyam with the notes of Ilampooranar in 1922. He also wrote commentary for the Arathupal part of Thirukkural.
·         One of his sons, Arumugam Pillai contested in Ottapidaram Assembly elections in1967 but lost badly.

On 18 November 1936 at 11.30 in the night the great patriot and the valiant fighter of freedom joined his political mentors in their heavenly abode.

With profound sadness – S. Sampathkumar
18th Nov. 2019.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Valet Parking ~ bailment ? - liability of Hotel ? - Insurer's right as Subrogee ??

For sure this has happened to you before .. .. …  you would never expect to land in a lengthy litigation as the one recently decreed by Apex Court in Taj Mahal Hotel Vs United India Insurance Co Ltd.

Do you Own a car ~ attend functions, go to Hotel .. ..  don’t you feel happy when instead of searching for a (generally non-existent parking place) – you have an uniformed attendant who takes the keys from you, gives you a slip ! and takes away the car for parking.  You feel greatly convenienced.  No longer you are searching for a space, and .. .. you and other attendants will not have to walk from a distant parking spot carrying some loads !  Happy ~ pleasant situation to be in ? – all yes, unless you are oblivious to some uncomfortable Qs !!  .. and by the time, you end up reading the post, you may start doubting and ask yourself couple of Qs before you hand over your keys to the valet !

Valet (pronounced Valei) : noun : dictionary meaning :  a man's personal male attendant, who is responsible for his clothes and appearance.  However, the commercial reference now is ‘parking valet’ – an employee of a thirdparty valet service, that for a fee or otherwise assists in handling vehicles at a place or at a function.   .. .. ..  have you ever dared to ask :
·         Whether these Valets are qualified i.e., hold a valid licence’
·         Would they park in a covered or permitted place
·         What would happen if they were to cause an accident
·         And .. .. what happens if a TP were to be injured in that unfortunate accident

In one instance, a gentleman went to a hotel, stylishly handed over the keys in exchange for a card !  – some one took charge and .. .. and vanished with the car. The hotel management said they were not aware of the person and the Insurance Company refused to admit the claim as ‘vehicle stolen’ stating that it was entrusted to someone, not wrongfully taken away, and hence more of a breach of trust than a theft as such !

The subject matter here has different set of circumstances.  On the night of 01.08.1998, at around 11 p.m.,   Maruti Zen owner visited a famous hotel.  He handed over his car and its keys to the hotel valet for parking, and then went inside the hotel. The parking tag handed over to him read inter alia: (most unlikely that anyone really reads them all)

“IMPORTANT CONDITION: This vehicle is being parked at the request of the guest at his own risk and responsibility in or outside the Hotel premises. In the event of any loss, theft or damage, the management shall not be held responsible for the same and the guest shall have no claim whatsoever against the management.”

When the Owner came out of the hotel at about 1 a.m., he was informed that his vehicle had been driven away by another person. Upon enquiry with the security officer, he found that three young boys had come to the hotel in their separate car, parked it, and gone inside the hotel. After some time, they came out and asked the valet to bring their car to the porch. During this process, one of the boys, picked up the keys of the car from the desk, went to the car parking, and simply drove away the Zen car.     Though the security guard tried to stop him, he sped away. A complaint was lodged with the police, but the car remained untraced.

United India Insurance did not raise any objections, treated this as a ‘theft’ – a peril falling within the purview fo the Policy, effected settlement for 2.80 lakhs, obtained  a Power of Attorney (‘POA’) and a letter of subrogation in favour of the Insurer.  Together they approached the State Commission by filing a complaint against the Hotel seeking payment of the value of the car and compensation for deficiency in service.

Life is not simple ~ there are twists and turns.  .. ..  Relying upon this Court’s decision in Oberoi Forwarding Agency v. New India Assurance Company Limited, the State Commission dismissed the complaint on the ground that an Insurance company acting as a subrogee cannot qualify as a ‘consumer’.  Insurer, undeterred,  filed an appeal before the National Commission.  Notably, Oberoi was partly overruled by a subsequent decision of a Constitution Bench of Apex Court in Economic Transport Organisation v. Charan Spinning Mills (Pvt.) Ltd.   In light of this change in law,   the National Commission in appeal remanded the complaint back to the State Commission, observing that the Insurer  had locus standi to file the complaint.

Deciding on merits, the State Commission relied on the decisions of the National Commission in Bombay Brazzerie v. Mulchand Agarwal3 and B. Dutta, Senior Advocate v. Management of State to hold that laws of bailment apply when a customer pays to park his car in a parking lot and it is then stolen or damaged. It was noted that the price paid for food consumed in the hotel would include consideration for a contract of bailment from the consumer (bailor) to the hotel (bailee). Applying this to the facts of this case, the State Commission observed that though the Appellant-hotel had averred that the owner of the car had not had dinner at the hotel that night, it was improbable for him to have stayed inside the hotel from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. without consuming any food or snacks or paying a bill !  Hence, the State Commission proceeded on the assumption that the owner (policy holder too)  had paid consideration for the contract.

In light of this, the State Commission allowed the complaint and directed the Appellant-hotel to pay a sum of Rs. 2,80,000 (the value of the car) with interest at 12% per annum and Rs. 50,000 as litigation costs. In addition to this, it directed payment of Rs. 1,00,000  also  for inconvenience and harassment faced by him. The State Commission also held that Respondent No. 3 (insurer of the hotel) would not be liable to indemnify the loss caused to the Appellant-hotel, as the theft of the car had not been notified to it within due time.

The matter did not end here – an appeal was filed.    On the question of locus standi of Respondent No. 1 (subrogee) to file the complaint, the National Commission observed that its earlier order dated 20.09.2010 (supra) had not been challenged, and had consequently attained finality. Hence, it was held that the Appellant could not argue that Respondent No. 1 (car insurer) did not have locus standi. The National Commission further applied the principle of infra hospitium (Latin for ‘within the hotel’) and observed that common law has historically imposed strict liability on a hotel for the loss of a guest’s property if the guest and the property were within the hotel premises. It was noted that once the guest presents the car keys to the valet and possession of the car is transferred from the guest to the hotel, a relationship of bailment is established.

The National Commission on appeal by Hotels,  held that the liability of a hotel cannot be precluded by a printed notice on the parking tag disclaiming liability. Consequently, the appeal against the order of the State Commission was dismissed, although the interest awarded was modified from 12% per annum to 9% per annum. Hence, the present appeal.

            At this juncture, it is pertinent to note that the compensation awarded by the State Commission (including interest) has already been paid by the Appellant to Respondent Nos. 1 and 2. Thus, the Court was only  concerned with the questions of law involved in the matter.  The issues framed were “

1.    Whether the insurer had locus standi to file the complaint as a subrogee?;
2.    Whether   the Appellant-hotel can be held liable for the theft of a car taken for valet parking, under the laws of bailment or otherwise?;
3.    If 2nd @ is  answered in the affirmative, what is the degree of care required to be taken by the Appellant-Hotel?; and
4.    Whether the Appellant-hotel can be absolved of liability by virtue of a contract?

The impugned judgement is really interesting one – dealing with so many aspects of significant relevance to Insurers and on the issue of bailment. 

The existence of a contract of bailment often turns on the degree of control exercised by the prospective bailee over the property or good in question. In other words, the crucial point to be considered is whether the custody or possession of the vehicle is purposefully handed over to the hotel (as is the case with valet parking) or whether the complainant is merely allowed to park his car in a parking space or facility. While the laws of bailment apply in the former case, the latter is only a licensor-licensee relationship where laws of bailment or the prima facie liability rule cannot be applied.  In a  situation where the hotel actively undertakes to park the vehicle for the owner, keep it in safe custody and return it upon presentation of a parking slip in a manner such that the parking of the vehicle is beyond the control of the owner, a contract of bailment exists. Thus, the hotel would be liable as a bailee for returning the vehicle in the condition in which it was delivered.

            Given the existence of a bailment relationship, the failure of the Appellant to deliver the car to Respondent No. 2 (car-owner), raises a prima facie case of negligence against it. Thus, the burden of proof is on the hotel (bailee) to show that efforts were undertaken by it to take reasonable care of the vehicle bailed, and that the theft did not occur due to its neglect or misconduct.

The issue of Hotel printing certain conditions (as Important Notice) exculpating their liability was discussed at length and the Court held that hotels are at liberty to print clear contractual disclaimers notifying their guests that their liability is excluded for loss or damage to vehicles taken for valet parking which are occasioned by acts of a third party, contributory negligence or by force majeure events. However, as mentioned supra, this would always be subject to the hotel discharging its initial burden of proving that it fulfilled the standard of care imposed under Section 151 of the Contract Act.

The Court further observed that while a case of a robbery by force is visibly beyond a bailee’s control, in cases of private stealth, or simple theft where no force or violence is involved, the bailee still has the prima facie burden of explaining that the loss or disappearance of the goods in his custody is not attributable to his neglect or want of care. This is because no one apart from the bailee is in a position to explain the fate of the goods.  In the instant case, given our finding that the theft of the car of Respondent No. 2 was a result of the negligence of the Appellant-hotel, the exemption clause on the parking tag will not exclude the Appellant’s liability. Hence, the argument of the Appellant-hotel on this count fails.

Apex Court concluded that :

(i)         the hotel-owner cannot contract out of liability for its negligence or that of its servants in respect of a vehicle of its guest in any circumstance. Once possession of the vehicle is handed to the hotel staff or valet, there is an implied contractual obligation to return the vehicle in a safe condition upon the direction of the owner.

(ii)        Even where there is a general or specific exemption clause, there remains a prima facie burden of proof on the hotel to explain that any loss or damage caused to the vehicles parked was not on account of its negligence or want of care per Sections 151 and 152 of the Contract Act. It is only after this burden of proof is discharged that the exemption clause can come into force. The burden of proving that such loss or damage was covered by the exemption clause will also be on the hotel.

            In view of the foregoing discussion,  Supreme Court held that the consumer complaint in consideration is maintainable as it was filed by the insurer as a subrogee, along with the original owner as a co-complainant. Further, Court opined  that strict liability cannot be imposed on hotel owners in respect of loss of or damage to vehicles of their guests. Instead, the rule of prima facie negligence should be adopted. Applying this rule to the present case, it is clear that the Appellant has not explained why its failure to return the vehicle to Respondent No. 2 was not on account of fault or negligence on its part. Thus, liability should be affixed on the Appellant-hotel due to want of the requisite care towards the car bailed to it.

The appeal by the Hotel was dismissed accordingly.  It is worth reading the caselaws discussed in this judgment – probably I will post the finer details in another post as a sequel to this.  There are learning .. and this judgements offers so much for the Insurers.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Nov. 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019

Ayodhya ripened ~ bananas !!

The Battle of the Hydaspes was fought in 326 BC between Alexander the Great and King Porus of the Paurava kingdom on the banks of the Jhelum River (known to the Greeks as Hydaspes) in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent (modern-day Punjab, Pakistan).

Ayodhya Sri Ramajanmabhoomi verdict is hailed by everyone. ~ it has changed lives – just as for this 87 year old woman from Madhya Pradesh, who had been surviving on a diet of just bananas and tea for 27 years – as part of a vow she had made for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, heaved a sigh of relief on Saturday when the Supreme Court passed the historic verdict and paved way for the construction of Ram temple in the city.

Urmila Chaturvedi, a resident of Vijaya Nagar in Jabalpur, around 250-km from state capital Bhopal, told News 18 that her only desire in life was that lord Ram be moved to his temple in Ayodhya. And with the SC verdict favouring the temple construction, her dream is set to materialise. The octogenarian had vowed not to take food in the year 1992 .. … ..She was glued to the television on November 9 when the SC delivered the verdict on the issue and her happiness knew no bounds when the court pronounced the verdict in favour of Ram Lalla. She headed straight to Ram’s idol and performed a sastang pranam before it.

Robusta, Dwarf Cavendish, Rasthali, Poovan, Nendran, Karpooravalli, Monthan, Virupakshi, Sirumalai, Manoranjitham , Kathali ……. – simple – varieties of banana, that delicious fruit.   Then there is the ‘green banana’ – in one way green is unripe …having starchy texture and inedible – but green banana is a variety – generally big in size …… modern technology is supplying that yellow banana in green (confusing !) –  Banana, that delicious fruit is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa ~ interestingly, bananas do not grow from a seed but from a bulb or rizhome.  Once the alluvial belt alongside the river Kaveri in Thanjavur, Trichy, Thiruvaiyaru flourished with banana plantation – now with water not fully flowing – understand that the cultivation too has suffered.  Down south in India, eating in a banana leaf is fulfilling and traditionally food is served on big banana leaf on ceremonial occasions.

Not sure of its historic correctness – in RS Manohar’s drama on Alexander –  Porus the valiant King when he meets Alexander would offer him many choicest delicacies of which ‘bananas’ from South will attract Alexander !

.. .. .. a ripened fruit is delicious to eat .. .. more than 10 tonne of bananas that were ripened using ethylene solutions were seized by food safety officials from six shops at the Koyambedu Wholesale Fruit Market  in the early hours of Wednesday. Food safety officials said vendors were diluting ethylene with water. The solution was then sprayed over the fruit and kept inside airtight rooms to speed up ripening process.

Designated food safety official A Ramakrishnan said several boxes of chemical packed in 100ml bottles were seized from the shops. “The use of ethylene in gas form is allowed. But direct contact with the fruit leads to harmful chemical contamination,” he said.  Media reports added  that the seized fruits would be destroyed in the biomechanisation plant at Koyambedu.

Ethylene – a hormone produced naturally – is permitted for artificial ripening provided the concentration does not exceed 100 ppm (parts per million). In the gas from, under controlled concentration, ethylene, being a natural hormone, does not pose any health hazards to consumers, the guidance note points out. Experts say these chemicals tend to stay in the body for longer periods and cause health issues such as skin rashes, digestive issues, cardiac and kidney ailments and cancer.

Nearly 40 vehicles, each carrying around eight tonne of raw bananas, come into the market every day, according to S Srinivasan, president of Chennai Fruits Commission Agents Association. “Raw bananas are transported to prevent damage during transport,” he said.  It usually takes three-four days for the fruit to ripen naturally but when you spray this, it will take just anywhere between 12-24 hours to become fully ripe. But this also reduces the shelf life of the fruit,”  it was claimed.

The early morning raids were conducted by 10 food safety officers at 34 shops after watching these establishments for 10 days. Samples of artificially ripened bananas were sent to the Food Analytical Lab for further analysis, he said. Though awareness programmes were being conducted among traders in the market, of late some were found to violate rules. “We started getting information regarding artificial ripening, which is why we conducted the raids,” Dr. Ramakrishnan said. Meanwhile, fruit shops running without valid Food Safety and Standards Authority of India Licence/Registration were served notices.

~  in markets and on streets – bananas are sold on vehicle carts – people buy and eat bananas almost daily.  They are offered to Gods also.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th Nov 2019.

Bin Laden captured ... and BJP MLA appreciated !

Padma Hazarika is a Bharatiya Janata Party politician from Assam. He was elected in Assam Legislative Assembly election in 1996, 2006, 2011 and 2016 from Sootea constituency.  Formerly, he was with Asom Gana Parishad.

Bin Laden captured .. .. .. Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was a Saudi Arabian-born Stateless Muslim jihadist who founded the pan-Islamic militant organization al-Qaeda, through which he planned and coordinated terror attacks around the world.  Bin Laden's father was  a Saudi millionaire and the founder of the construction company, Saudi Binladin Group.  He was banished from Saudi Arabia in 1992, and shifted his base to Sudan, until U.S. pressure forced him to leave Sudan in 1996.   Bin Laden masterminded Sept 11 attacks that resulted in deaths of more than 3000 and heightened the war on terror.

Though Pakistan kept denying sheltering the dreaded terrorist, Osama was killed   in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, by United States Navy SEALs,  in an operation code-named Operation Neptune Spear.  The raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan was launched from Afghanistan. U.S. military officials said that after the raid U.S. forces took the body of bin Laden to Afghanistan for identification, then buried it at sea within 24 hours of his death in accordance with Islamic tradition.  In the aftermath of the killing, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani formed a commission under Senior Justice Javed Iqbal to investigate the circumstances surrounding the attack. The resulting Abbottabad Commission Report, revealed Pakistani state military and intelligence authorities' "collective failure" !  that enabled bin Laden to hide in Pakistan for nine years.

Now this post is not on the terrorist but on an elephant named Bin Laden, so named after its killing people.   'Laden' the rampaging elephant was caught after a massive operation in India – the elephant that went berserk had stampeded  through villages in Goalpara district.  In a 24 hour period, it reportedly killed 5 people including 3 women and terrified locals named it  after Al-Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden.  After the killings,   a massive operation to hunt down the pachyderm was launched.

Wildlife officers tracked the pachyderm - dubbed 'Laden' by the locals it menaced in northeastern Assam state - through a forest for several days using drones and domesticated elephants. The rogue animal killed five people, including three women, during a 24-hour rampage through Goalpara district October.  Officials said they would take the elephant's welfare into account as well as the safety of people living nearby in deciding where it would be relocated.  In the final leg of operations the Forest officials with trained elephants fired tranquiliser darts and later captured it alive.  It was then planned on shifting the giant elephant  to a forest where there is no human habitation nearby.

Wildlife officials and rangers managed to track the beast through the Rongjuli forest before finally capturing it.  Assam forest minister Parimal Shuklabaidya said an eight-person committee including wildlife experts would decide what to do.  Elephants frequently migrate into Goalpara, resulting in high numbers of fatal encounters with humans amid rampant deforestation. Some elephants there have been poisoned or shot by locals, while others have died on electric fences or on railways cutting through migration routes.

After being tranquilised, earlier, it was decided that the jumbo will be freed in the Lumding area, but the decision was withdrawn after the locals protested against it. Recent reports now suggest that the elephant has been renamed ‘Krishna’, will work for the forest department and will be trained by other tamed elephants.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal congratulated MLA Padma Hazarika for capturing the wild elephant that was creating havoc in Goalpara district. The Sootea MLA led the operation to capture the wild tusker with the help of forest officials and his aides.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th Nov. 2019.

Car Insurance ~ add-on cover.. woman given £400,000 bill for the hired Mercede

Motor Vehicle Insurance has been standardized – All India Motor Tariff codifies every aspect of automobile insurance.  There primarily are two policies – Liability only policy and Package Policy that would offer coverage for the own damage of the vehicle as well.

Standard wording of a Package Policy would read inter-alia :  the Insurer will indemnify the policy holder against loss or damage to the vehicle insured hereunder and/or its accessories .. .. .. ~ whilst this is direct indemnity – it would also be specified that the Company shall not be liable to make any payment in respect of :  a) consequential loss, depreciation, wear & tear, mechanical or electrical breakdown, failures or breakages .. …

Insurance is evolving all the time !  ~  unlike a few years ago when there were only 4 PSU General Insurers, now there are so many Insurance companies and plethora of optional covers are available on payment of additional premium.  Add-on plans, as the name suggests, offer insurance for several damages or events in addition to own damage and third party liability insurance.   

Perhaps one of the first and primary add-on in a Motor Insurance Policy is ‘Nil depreciation’ – you check with people, most would call it ‘bumper-to-bumper’ as if only Zero depreciation would provide coverage for ‘bumper of car’ !

To deviate a bit from the main topic :  a   bumper is a structure attached to or integrated with the front and rear ends of a motor vehicle, to absorb impact in a minor collision, ideally minimizing repair costs.  Bumpers ideally minimize height mismatches between vehicles and protect pedestrians from injury.  By some accounts, the  first bumper appeared on a vehicle in 1897, and it was installed by Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriksgesellschaft, a Czech carmaker.   G.D. Fisher patented a bumper bracket to simplify the attachment of the accessory. The early bumpers  consisted a strip of steel across the front and back. Often treated as an optional accessory, bumpers became more and more common in the 1920s as automobile designers made them more complex and substantial. Bumpers offer protection to other vehicle components by dissipating the kinetic energy generated by an impact. This energy is a function of vehicle mass and velocity squared.  A bumper that protects vehicle components from damage at 5 miles per hour must be four times stronger than a bumper that protects at 2.5 miles per hour, with the collision energy dissipation concentrated at the extreme front and rear of the vehicle. Small increases in bumper protection can lead to weight gain and loss of fuel efficiency.

Getting back – the regular Package policy offers indemnity i.e., parts would be subject to depreciation going by the usage and often described in the schedule of the policy itself.  The ‘Nil-dep’ add-on would provide indemnity without deduction for such depreciation for replaced parts.  The policy holder by availing this add-on would be getting ‘new for old’.  Then there are other add-on which provide – free pick-up, fixed allowance for the period the vehicle is disabled, substitute car for the period the vehicle is still undergoing repairs arising out of a valid claim and more. 
photo from twitter (illustrative)

With this lengthy introduction, read this interesting article in MailOnline ~  a woman was given a £400,000 bill for the hired Mercedes she drove while awaiting an accident claim judgment.

Susan Harries drove her Audi, worth £10,000, into a parked Honda in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. For three years, Mrs Harries hired a Mercedes C220 costing her £300 per day and was driving it awaiting accident claim judgement. In total, the bill came to £400,000. (Rs.3.70 crores approx. !!) She rented the car through an independent firm that offered to cover the cost of the rental, but only if she was not to blame for the crash. These sorts of firms can approach drivers after an accident offering them cut-price deals while their insurer works out who is to blame.

They typically claim the cost of the hire from the at-fault driver's insurer, but only if the person who takes out the policy is not at fault. If they are at fault, they need to pay the bill themselves. Many people opt to use these companies if getting a hire car through their insurer would impact their no claims or if their excess is too expensive. For three years, Mrs Harries hired a Mercedes C220 costing her £300 per day. In September, Mrs Harries appeared in Nottingham County Court  accusing Kevin Baguley of reversing his Honda into her path.  The crash was found to be because of Mrs Harries's 'negligent driving', Nottingham County Court heard.  A judge said that the four separate witness statements Mrs Harries provided to support what she claimed turned out to be connected to the car recovery company she used. These witnesses put her in contact with the independent firm that loaned her the hired car.

Richard Hiscocks from insurer Aviva told The Sun that Mrs Harries's case 'highlights how far credit hire organisations are willing to go to pursue profit.'

.. .. people and their ways !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th Nov. 2o19

Meghalaya's hour of glory !!

Garo,  is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken in the Garo Hills districts of Meghalaya, some parts of Assam, and in small pockets in Tripura.  Tura is a hilly town and a municipality in West Garo Hills district in the state of Meghalaya. It is 220 kilometres from the nearest city Guwahati and is also the district headquarter of the West Garo Hills district. It is filled with small rivulets and green valleys all around. The principal languages are Garo and English.  Meghalaya   is a hilly state in northeastern India. The name means "the abode of clouds" in Sanskrit.  The State is bounded by Bangaladesh &  Assam.  Its capital  is Shillong. During the British rule of India, the British imperial authorities nicknamed it the "Scotland of the East". Meghalaya was previously part of Assam, but on 21 Jan 1972, the districts of Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills became the new state of Meghalaya.  ~ this is no Geography post but a Cricket post !!

IPL followers might remember this man from Kakinada, Andhrapradesh.  Dwaraka Bhamidipati Ravi Teja played for Deccan Chargers & Sunrisers Hyderabad.  There is another attacking player -  Ramsingh Sanjay Yadav, born in Gorakhpur,  but plays in TN, plays for VB Kanchi Veerans and played for KKR too. 

There is so much of IPL news !!  ~  Chris Lynn (Kolkata Knight Riders), Jaydev Unadkat (Rajasthan Royals) and Varun Chakravarthy (Kings XI Punjab), the three-most expensive buys at the last two IPL auctions, have been released by their respective franchises. Also back on the auction block is South Africa allrounder Chris Morris, who had been retained by Delhi Capitals before the 2018 auction, to be released in the IPL as the trading window closed on Friday evening India time. Royal Challengers Bangalore released the most number of players (12) followed by the Knight Riders and the Royals (11 each), Mumbai Indians (10), the Capitals (nine), Kings XI (seven), Chennai Super Kings (six) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (five).

At Indore, India lead by 343 runs mainly due to 243 of Mayank Agarwal.  In 12 innings, Mayank has scored   two double-centuries in his Test career. Only one batsman has played fewer innings to achieve the same. Vinod Kambli made his second double-hundred in just his fifth innings, in 1993. Sir Don Bradman made his second double century in his 13th innings.   He emulated Sidhu’s 8 sixers made against Srilanka in Lucknow in 1994.   All of Agarwal's eight sixes were off the spinners.

All is not well at Mumbai ~ again not the political situation but Cricket !  only recently, Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA)  sacked two selectors - Pradeep Kasliwal and Sanjay Patil - after a controversy over the squad picked for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the domestic T20 tournament. While picking an inexperienced bowling attack as part of the 15-man squad on Monday, the five-member panel omitted frontline quick Tushar Deshpande, leading to an uproar in the Mumbai circuit.

The big sensational news is Mumbai tasted their defeat in their home ground – losing to Meghalaya ! Mumbai made 157/6 and Meghalaya chased the target with ease losing only 4 wickets, with 4 balls to spare.  Meghalaya started the chase on a poor note, as they lost their skipper Raj Biswa (0) in the first over. Soon, they were reeling at 41-3, with another opener Punit Bisht (23) and Swarajeet Das (0) back in the hut. But Ravi Teja and Sanjay Yadav ensured a win for Meghalaya !!

Today Chengkam Sangma ~ Right handed bat and medium pace bowler made his debut in T20.   His is a literal arduous trek.   Chengkam stays in Tura, home to the Garo indigenous group. It's 323 kilometres of mountainous terrain from Shillong.  Chengkam is one of seven siblings,.  He grew up on tennis-ball cricket, and  had not bowled with a leather ball until three years ago.  "Our village is a bit backward, so there isn't any big business. I would have done some small business if it wasn't for cricket," Chengkam says. .. .. a real climb for this Cricketer and his State – beating Mumbai on their home trek.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th Nov. 2019.